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Music Reviews

Jones, Booker T. With Drive-by Truckers & Young, Neil – “Potato Hole” – [Anti]

Cousin Mary   4/29/2009   A Library, CD

Booker T. Jones, the legendary R&B organist and composer, joins Southern rock group Drive-By Truckers and Neil Young on this hard rocking instrumental album. All pieces were composed by Booker T, but only hint at soul. Very enjoyable and well played, turn it up!

The term ???potato hole??? dates back to slavery days ??? it was a place under the floor for hiding things, such as food.

PGM: Musicians are listed in CD case under CD holder.

Lavette, Bettye – “Do Your Duty” – [Sundazed Records]

Cousin Mary   4/29/2009   CD, Soul

Bettye Lavette grew up in Detroit and began singing on the R&B circuit in her teens. Now in her 60???s, she is enjoying a surge of new interest and will appear (May 2009) locally with Booker T???s Potato Hole.

The cuts on this album were recorded in 1969-70 and show off Lavette???s great voice on hits such as ???He Made a Woman Out of Me??? and covers of ???Piece of My Heart??? (Janis Joplin) and ???Games People Play??? (Joe South).

I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore [coll] – [Mississippi Records]

ArtCrimes   4/28/2009   12-inch, International

Mississippi Records of North Portland, OR, assembled this collection spanning 1927-1948 with a variety of styles and ethnic backgrounds. Although all recorded in the USA, the artists wear their heritage conspicuously, with Greek rebetica from Marika Papagika, early Tex-Mex from Lydia Mendoza, gospel from Two Gospel Keys, Cajun with Cleoma Falcon and Blind Uncle Gaspard, country from Blue Sky Boys (a rare track of theirs as far as I can tell), calypso from The Caresser and Wilmouth Houdini (another rare track or perhaps just titled incorrectly!), Hawaiian with Mike Hanapi’s Ilima Islanders and Mme. Riviere’s Hawaiians, klezmer with Jacob Hoffman, latin rhythms from Sexteto Bolona, an unidentified Indonesian artist on Sorban Palid, and the reed pipe stylings of Big Boy Cleveland. Over-riding concerns here seem to be for beauty and mystery in the selections, although the calypso tracks are more goofy that the others (by design). Most of the transfers are fairly clean. Although many of these tracks have been reissued before, most are new to KFJC. When I’m feeling particularly ambitious, I’ll look up the dates for each of these recordings. [crimes]

Midnite – “Unpolished” – [Rastafaria – Roots, Dub & Culture]

humana   4/26/2009   CD, Reggae

Reggae: Vaughn Benjamin pens and offers lead vocals on some substantial songs dealing with solid themes such as loving the life you live and basing your faith in Jah and a woman who is ???worth all of the precious stones they???ve stolen from the earth.??? Read the lyrics printed in the liner notes to catch the abundant puns. Vaughn also offers percussion along with Dion Hopkins on drums and percussion, Joe Straws on bass, and Ron Benjamin on keyboards, guitar, and background vocals. The songs are upbeat and inspirational.
Picks: 2, 5, 6, 9.
PGM: Most songs end around :03.

Tahiti, Aditi – “Time Canvas, The” – [Majmua Music]

humana   4/25/2009   A Library, CD

Experimental minimalism: The concept of this CD is interesting, with each of the 10 songs adding a minute to the one before it (except for 8, which adds two minutes, unfortunately). Tracks 1-4 feature primarily accordion, while 5 and 6 sound like a toy piano, 7 introduces the voice of Tahiti chanting shiva-style, 8 is harsh blowing of some kind of horn, 9 is a relief wash of bells of some kind, and 10 witnesses the return of the accordion. Minimal settings abound, with the only complication coming from layering in Tahiti???s unique artistic way.
Picks: 6, 9.

Brown, James – “Original Disco Man, The” – [Polydor]

humana   4/23/2009   12-inch, Soul

As with everything he did, James Brown made his mark on disco with this enjoyable album. Just play the title track for a history of how James Brown is the ???Original Disco Man???. Even if you hate disco, the Godfather of Soul manages to inject enough funk and soul into the songs to make them palatable. Even in its slickest disco moments, Brown grounds us again with his trademark screams and themes from earlier times (see Side 1, #2, which borrows sections from ???I Feel Good???). His female backup singers are delightful, as are his spoken interludes (almost like a sermon on Side 1, #3). Hints of the Village People (yes, there???s a cowbell!) on Side 2, #1. My favorites are the bluesy-beginning Side 1, #2, and the funky Side 1, #3, but each song on here is notable in its own way.
PGM: Side 2, #3 has chorus of ???You funk them all??? (at least that???s what I think they???re saying).

War, Gary – “New Raytheonport” – [SHDWPLY]

MSTiZA   4/22/2009   12-inch, A Library

What do you get when you take Anton Newcombe & Joel Gion of BJM and Morissey & Johnny Marr of the Smiths; shrink them and stick them in a leslie speaker? You’d get a third of the haunting and morose sounds of Gary War. Gary War first featured on bass for Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Pedestrian Pop Hits in 2005. He has 2 7″s out but this is his full length. If you are familiar with Ariel Pink/Haunted Graffiti, then you will recognize the names of Jimi Hey(Indian Jewelry), Tim Koh(White Magic). Album was recoded on a Tascam 488(8-Track Cassette based recorder). Besides the cover of Eye in the Sky (Alan Parsons Project) all music was sritten by War. Co-writer credit is given to Cole MGN(AP/HG) on Edge of Mass. Mastered by Jay Rajek (founding member of TRS 80-mid 90s electronic jungle scene, Producer-Nite Jewel) & Ariel Pink. These tracks are beautiful, melancholy, and rough. It’s like seeing your boyfriend cry because he loves, even though you are the cruel one. In GW’s effort to make an album he’s made his listeners turn into observers of sound. It doesn’t fail in delivering watery hauntings.

Rorem, Ned – “Water Music – Ideas For Orchestra – Trio” – [Desto]

Cousin Mary   4/22/2009   12-inch, A Library

Ned Rorem is a native of Indiana who celebrated his 85th birthday in 2008. Still actively composing (such as ???Our Town???, an opera that premiered in 2006), his work has been hard to categorize but can safely be called iconoclastic.

Water Music is a theme and variations that was composed in 1966 for the Oakland Youth Orchestra ??? made up of city high school students – as was Ideas for Orchestra. This old LP is a recording from that original ensemble. The New York Camerata performs the very lovely Trio.

PGM: Rorem wrote the liner notes, worth reading. Sound is so-so with quite a bit of hiss on side 2.

Faust/Nurse With Wound – “Disconnected” – [Dirter Promotions]

Max Level   4/21/2009   12-inch, A Library

A 12″ reissue of the 2007 “Disconnected” collaboration CD, with a second 12″ of previously unreleased material. Sides 1 and 2 feature German avant-rock pioneers Faust working with the generally disturbing Nurse With Wound on four interesting studio creations that include drones, tribal beats, and voices and stuff. I can’t honestly say that I know from the sound of it where Faust ends and NWW begins, but does it matter? Side 3 is Faust only, doing live improvisations in the studio. Side 4 is NWW only, providing escalating backing for a sarcastic rant by a multimedia astrologist named Hazel Two Twiggs against some artist or other who has gotten on her bad side; this track not particularly recommended. The other three sides are definitely worth a listen.
Limited 1000 copies on colored vinyl.

Uncle Woody Sullender – “Live At Barkenhoff” – [Dead CEO]

lombard   4/20/2009   A Library, CD

This release from 2008 covers a live performance by Uncle Woody Sullender from August 2008 at the GartenKultur Musikfestival at the Barkenhoff in Worpswede, Germany.

Woody Sullender is a Brooklyn-based academic/composer/artist (and some-time WFMU DJ) who most recently has been focusing on experimental banjo projects. This live recording from a performance in rural Germany features him playing his “electronically augmented banjo.” It bears similarity to the guitar-work of John Fahey and is quite pretty, but it also verges into drone territory, making it even more mesmerizing. Quite lovely.

Night Control – “Death Control” – [kill shaman]

lombard   4/20/2009   A Library, CD

Something about this CD of home recordings by Christopher Curtis Smith is familiar and nostalgic, perhaps hearkening back to great moments in 1990s pop; yet at the same time it’s been turned on its head. Night Control‘s CD “Death Control” also has noisy moments, feedback (“Star 131”), whirring sounds like a piece of vinyl played at the wrong speed (“No Making”), and beautiful post-rock lusciousness (“Enunciated”). This combination of synth, piano, found sounds, guitar, bass, drum, effects, and vocals just works. Apparently this is a collection of material from earlier CD-R releases that he put out under the name Crystal Shards.

Morton, Jelly Roll – “Jelly Roll Morton 1938, 1940” – [Alamac]

Cousin Mary   4/20/2009   12-inch, Jazz

Jelly Roll Morton was born approx. 1885 in New Orleans to a Creole family. He had great success with the Red Hot Peppers in the 1920???s, but these recordings were made toward the end of his life in 1938 and 1940.

Recording quality is okay to poor but Morton???s skill on piano shines through. Side musicians were relatively unknown locals, but nice trumpet work from Dick Bird on side 1.

Traditional, ???tickle the ivories??? jazz.

Rollerball – “Traviste of Paint, The” – [HySM?]

Cousin Mary   4/20/2009   A Library, CD

This Portland band successfully combines and spans genres: jazz, soul, hip-hop, rock, electronic, and experimental. Hard to categorize, but great to hear — they are original and accessible at the same time.

Personnel: Mae Starr (keyboards, sampler, accordion, vocals), Monte Allen [aka Mini Wagonwheel] (bass, keyboard, percussion, guitar), Amanda Mason Wiles (horns, vocals), Gilles (drums, percussion)

Eccentric Soul: Smart’s Palace [coll] – [Numero Group]

Cousin Mary   4/20/2009   CD, Soul

This is a collection of little known soul artists (including the club owner) from performances at Smart???s Palace in Wichita, Kansas between 1963-1975. Lots of heart warming enthusiasm and plenty of talent. Still, like many of these Eccentric Soul releases, the lyrics are just a little off ??? a prime example would be ???The Dance Got Old???. Tracks 5 and 12 are instrumental; all others have vocals.

This will make you smile as well as dance.

Davis, Miles – “Big Fun” – [Columbia Records (Jazz)]

Cousin Mary   4/20/2009   CD, Jazz

Reminiscent of ???Bitches Brew??? which was recorded just a few months before the earliest track on this 2-CD set, Miles Davis???s muted trumpet, electric piano, electric guitar and Indian instruments give us this trippy, dreamy music. Personnel changes quite a bit from track to track and includes Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, John McLaughlin, Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul, Chick Corea, Larry Young and many others.

You could immediately guess the year(s) this was recorded, but it sounds fresh, not dated. Great stuff!

Cheval Sombre – “Cheval Sombre” – [Double Feature Records]

humana   4/19/2009   A Library, CD

Shoegaze/Psychedelic: There is a shimmery quality to each of these songs, a mellow spaciness underpinned by a consistent drone. 10 is like a country song with music sounding like lap steel and mention of Blue Ridge Mountains. The echoey quality of Cheval Sombre???s voice is set against pretty instrumentation and field sounds of rain that often make the songs feel like waves gently breaking and receding on a shore. A lot of the songs end on a long drones that track (2 into 3, 5 into 6, 9 into 10, 10 into 11).
3WR: Dreamy Lyrical Daze
Picks: 6, 1, 2.
PGM: 6, 7, and 11 end at :05.

Cluster – “Berlin 07” – [Important Records]

cinder   4/15/2009   A Library, CD

This is a recording of the first time Dieter Moebius & Hans-Joachim Roedelius have played in Berlin since 1969, a long awaited reunion show. Cluster, from Germany, is an experimental ambient & electronic duo with an avant-garde & prog flair. Originally known as Kluster, once Conrad Schnitzler was out of the picture, it turned to Cluster. This release is 2 lengthy tracks full of fun drones, synthesized sounds, sequencers, and the like. Doing what they do best, with huge smiles across their faces. Floating in outer space with sparkling comets, or swimming in the rainbow reefs of Bermuda. It’s on the lighter side of looped and unexpected electronic experimentation.

Pornography: Re-Heat [coll] – [???? (None Listed)]

cinder   4/15/2009   A Library, CD

You guessed it, an entire album cover of The Cure’s Pornography! Amazing versions of everyone’s favorite eyeliner wearing sadboy. This apparently came free with the 14th issue of Fear Drop magazine. All sorts of music styles here. Doom sludge, tribal drums, redlight dark beats, electronic voices, and 80s sounding goth rock. Unless you know The Cure, there’s no way you’d recognize these tracks! If you’re really yearning for Robert Smith type vox, try track 5. All great renditions, not being a Cure fan I love this!

Gargaud, Guillaume – “She” – [Utech Records]

SAL9000   4/14/2009   A Library, CD

Guillaume Gargaud is an artist based in France. His album, She, is dark drone, ambient electronic, mostly buzzing and insect invoking. It is mostly a mix of electronics, sounding like insects or frogs in a subtle way. Guillaume keeps the listener guessing and intrigued. The sound is perhaps inspired by nature, sometimes at its creepiest. The album also features some of his dreamy guitar work on track 5. Track 8 ends softly.